An Impossible Return
Momma Leighellen's Book Review

“Courage is the weapon of those who have no choice.” – An Impossible Return

I love to read historical fiction for all the ways it continues to educate me.  It seems I will never get to the end of people and places and events I knew nothing about.  Sometimes it’s beautiful, other times it’s heartbreaking.  In an Impossible Return, it is both.


It’s 1967 in the Chagos Archipelago, a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean. Life is peaceful and simple for hardworking Marie and her people. Then she meets Gabriel, the handsome and sophisticated secretary to the island’s administrator; it’s love at first sight. When they welcome a son, Joséphin, a bright future seems possible.

Unfortunately, Gabriel is hiding a terrible secret. The island government is negotiating independence from Britain, and this deal with the devil will mean evacuating the island, without warning or mercy. This betrayal will put their love to the test. A novel of exile, heartbreak and hope, AN IMPOSSIBLE RETURN serves as a beautiful tribute to the Chagossian people.


This is a dual POV story, along with a narrator’s thoughts interspersed throughout, told over a twenty year time period. It tells the horrific true story of a beautiful, peaceful set of Island clusters in the Indian Ocean, just off the coast of Madagascar, called the Chagos Archipelago.  The Ilois people fish and harvest coconuts. However, in a shameful episode in the history of colonialism, all of the Chago inhabitants are forced to leave the islands. The British government allows the US to build military bases and the inhabitants are forcibly removed from their homes. The repercussions of which still reverberate today. 

This is perfect for fans of The Island of Sea Women. It is a fictional love story of two people from opposite histories who are torn apart because of a very real event.  The writing is beautiful and I was horrified, as usual, that I had never heard of this event.  

The author learned this tale first hand from her mother who had lived on the island. She hopes this novel makes you mad enough to care. 

“We’ve seen opinion change over the course of history. Use my words to make my wrath yours as well. 

If you’d like to give this one a try, head over to my Instagram page where I’m hosting a giveaway!  One winner will receive a copy of this book from the publisher.

Awards Recieved

The Prix Maison de la Press, the Prix Louise-Guilloux, and Prix du Salon du Livre du Mans

About the Author & Translator

Caroline Laurent is the bestselling author of An Impossible Return, winner of the Prix Maison de la Presse 2020, Prix Louis-Guilloux 2020, and Prix du Salon du Livre du Mans 2020. In addition, she cowrote, with Evelyne Pisier, Et soudain, la liberté (And Suddenly, Freedom), which won the Grand Prix des Lycéennes de ELLE. 

Jeffrey Zuckerman has translated many French works into English, including books by the artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and the Dardenne brothers; and novelists Ananda Devi, Shenaz Patel, and Carl de Souza. A graduate of Yale University and a finalist for the TA First Translation Prize and the French-American Foundation Translation Prize.

Thanks to @Caroline.laurent.livres, @otrpr and @AmazonPublishing for sending me this book and having me on the book tour. If you’s like to read other reviews, check out the other hosts below.

You can pick up a copy of the book here.  To read more of my reviews, check out the rest of my blog.  To enter the latest giveaways and see what I’m currently reading, head to my Bookstagram account in IG.  And to listen to me chat all things bookish and share my latest reviews, head to my Booktube Channel. To try the book on audio go here!

 #AnImpossibleReturn #CarolineLaurent #AmazonCrossing #DecemberReads #womenintranslation #BIPOCfiction #ReadTheWorld #TranslatedFiction #AdventuresInTranslation #MauritianAuthor #ChagosIslands #diegogarcia #HistoricalFiction #LiteraryFiction #bookclubfiction 


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